From the editors: Choose your own adventure


After careful review of your application, we regret to inform you that we are unable to offer you admission for the Fall 2023 semester.

It’s April, and by now, many of our fellow high school seniors are familiar with these words and the disappointment that they bring. 

Living in the culture of Palo Alto motivates many of us to spend our high school careers stacking up our resumes and voluntarily loading on advanced classes to bolster our college applications, all of which can make a rejection letter feel like the end of the world. 

But even if it feels like it right now, rejection does not reduce opportunity.

This issue highlights the diverse ways high school students can learn and explore the world — a reminder to all of us that there is no one right path.

In “The New Era of Exchange,” Business Manager Anna Van Riesen and staff writer Lizzy Williams explore exchange programs and their gradual recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting the unique experiences and skills that students gain from leaving their comfort zones — quite literally — and immersing themselves in new environments.

Social Media Manager Austin Eng’s “Foundation for Success,” profiles Palo Alto High School alumnus Mehr Sikri who founded Operation Math — a tutoring center in Palo Alto’s Midtown plaza geared toward establishing strong foundational skills and filling in learning gaps.

In recent years, Paly students have put a lighthearted spin on college rejection letters by posting them on the “Wall of Rejection” on the side of the Haymarket Theater. This year, the tradition continued, although under a different name, the “Wall of Redirection,” as directed by school administration. News Editor Gopala Varadarajan explored student and administration’s feelings around the wall and what it brings to the Paly community in “Rejection or Redirection?”

In this time of excitement, disappointment and above all, uncertainty, we hope that this issue serves as a reminder to all of us, that no matter how much rejection — or redirection — we face, we still have the world in our hands. 

As for us, our tenure as editors end with this issue. Almost exactly one year ago, we tested the waters with the “Blank canvas” issue, all about filling up the metaphorical blank canvas during the 2022–23 school year. And we did just that; we profiled impactful faces on campus in the “Trailblazer” issue, covered campus controversies through the “Would you trust a Paly crowd?” cover story and even the major universal shift toward artificial intelligence in the “Who’s writing your essay?” issue. Our canvas is now complete. 

It’s hard to come to terms with the fact that in less than two months, we will walk out of MAC105 for the last time, but we too are reminding ourselves that we will be stepping into a world full of opportunity, armed with all the wisdom our time on Verde has given us. And these five covers will remain on the wall of the classroom as a permanent reminder of the work our staff has done in the past year to uphold Verde’s legacy of hard-hitting journalism and confront the ever-changing world around us head-on. 

To our staff: It’s been an honor and a joy to write, create and eat unholy amounts of Trader Joe’s chocolate-covered pretzels with you. Thank you for your patience and support; we cannot wait to see where you take Verde next.

On the cover

Palo Alto High School sophomore Amani Fossati-Moiane gazes at a globe in his hands in a photo by staff writer Rahul Shetty. Opportunities like exchange programs were abruptly ended during the COVID-19 pandemic, but have recovered in recent months. Holding the globe, Fossati-Moiane is a reflection of Paly students: a world of opportunity in their hands.

Find the full PDF of our magazine on Issuu.